Postpartum Doula vs Night Nanny/Nurse: Choosing the Right Support after Childbirth
If you follow anyone in the pregnancy and birth world, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of (or perhaps even benefited from) birth doula services during childbirth. Over the past several years, there has been a positive movement towards providing mamas and their partners with more support during pregnancy and birth.
But did you know that your options for support don’t end after your child is born? That you don’t have to spend those early days with your baby just “figuring it out” on your own?
The postpartum period is a beautiful time for making memories and bonding as a family… But as any parent who has ever welcomed a new baby into their family knows, the postpartum time can also be quite difficult. This can be true for all parents… women who’ve recently given birth, their partners who support them, and even adoptive parents, can experience the difficulties of postpartum life.
In addition to navigating the changes in your family and adjusting your routines, you may be sleep deprived, recovering from the physical feat that is childbirth, or riding the hormonal roller coaster that follows giving birth. Here’s the good news…you don’t have to walk through your postpartum days alone. There are options for support!
Perhaps you’ve heard the terms “postpartum doula,” “night doula,” “night nanny,” or “night nurse” thrown around. Although these terms are occasionally used interchangeably by well-meaning individuals, in reality there are some differences between postpartum doulas and night nannies and night nurses.
What are Night Nannies & Night Nurses?
Night nannies, also called night nurses, offer support services specifically during (you guessed it) the nighttime hours. Their work is specifically focused on providing newborn and infant care at night.
What do Night Nannies & Night Nurses do?
Night nannies and nurses typically do things like:
- Nighttime feedings (bottle feeding or bringing baby to mom for nursing)
- Overnight care for baby
- Cleaning bottles/ baby equipment
- Establishing sleep and eating schedules for baby
Although some night nannies may have obtained certifications for infant care, many have not. There are no regulations on night nanny care.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
Unlike night nannies who focus primarily on caring for babies and infants, postpartum doulas offer holistic care for the entire family during the postpartum transition. They work to ensure that all family members are adjusting well and that their physical, emotional, and mental health needs are being met.
What do Postpartum Doulas do?
Postpartum doulas work with families to develop a care plan that meets the unique needs present in each individual situation. Like a night nanny, the duties of a postpartum doula may include nighttime care for infants and establishing sleeping and eating schedules, but they are not limited to those activities.
Postpartum doulas can also help with:
- Daytime care for newborns (offering breaks for parents)
- Newborn care support and education, such as swaddling, bathing, & sleep routines (to help you get baby sleeping through the night)
- Family meal prep & cleanup
- Light household chores (like cleaning)
- Laundry & organization
- Bottle and breastfeeding support
- Care for mom: nutritious meals, the ability to take a hot shower or a walk around the block…
- Support for older siblings during the transition
- Tips and tricks for caring for twins and multiples
- Pet care (fur babies need love too!)
- A non-judgmental listening ear
A postpartum doula makes perfect sense for many families to provide an additional layer of support with a new baby, household tasks, and other family members, so mom can get some much-needed rest and self-care.
Can a postpartum doula help with sleep training?
Postpartum doulas can assist in establishing healthy sleep routines for both the baby and the parents. They provide hands-on education and guidance to parents about what to expect during the coming weeks and months, educating parents on normal sleep cycles. They can also help develop sleep strategies that align with parenting styles and goals. A postpartum doula can assist with implementing sleep strategies, such as soothing techniques, swaddling, and creating a conducive sleep environment. They can show parents how to calm a fussy baby and help with settling the baby to sleep. And for breastfeeding parentss, doulas can offer assistance with nighttime feedings, ensuring that feedings are comfortable and efficient while minimizing disruption to both baby and parents’ sleep.
Looking for Postpartum Doula Support in Ohio?
At CLEbaby, our postpartum doulas have formal training through reputable doula certification organizations. We love what we do and are committed to continuing our education and staying up to date on current & relevant research on infant care and the postpartum period.
We provide pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support to families in Northeast Ohio, including Cleveland, Akron, and surrounding communities.
Our postpartum doulas want to help you make this stage with your newborn the most enjoyable for the entire family. We can help you develop a care plan customized to your family’s unique life and needs and also help you set up a framework that makes sleep training for your new baby easier.
Whether you’ve recently given birth or are preparing for an upcoming birth, CLEbaby is here to support you every step of the way. Click here to learn more about the exceptional postpartum support CLEbaby doulas provide.
Ready to explore care? Inquire today!
Ashley & the team
CLEbaby was established in 2015 to help Cleveland area families have positive, supportive experiences during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Our wide range of services means that there's something for everyone. And our skilled, compassionate doulas, childbirth educators and sleep trainers deliver unmatched care, ensuring you're confident and set up for long-term success. At CLEbaby, we want families to not only survive early parenthood but thrive.